Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Ziglar v. Abbasi, an important case curbing lawsuits against former government officials for purported abuse of federal detainees. Some will view this decision as an important protection for former executive officials against judicial Monday-morning quarterbacking. Critics will see it as another hurdle to preventing lawless actions taken in the name of national security in time of war or national emergency.
Alex Loomis graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. While in law school, he interned in the International Affairs Division of the Office of General Counsel of the Defense Department, as well as the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department. He graduated cum laude from Harvard college in 2012.
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Professor Blackman has argued extensively that, under controlling Supreme Court precedent (specifically Kerry v. Din and Kleindienst v.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated with a paragraph concluding the day's coverage, as the transcript for the last session of the court's March 13th hearings was originally not available on the Office of Military Commissions website.
March 10th opens with a lengthy examination of an unnamed Senior Medical Officer (SMO), who was formerly responsible for caring for Nashiri from September 2016 through February 2017. The defense team have called the SMO to testify in support of motion AE359 to allow Nashiri to remain at the Expeditionary Legal Center (ELC) the night before his sessions. Transporting Nashiri back and forth from his holding cell and the ELC gives him motion sickness, the defense argues, and medication to treat the motion sickness makes him to drowsy to stay engaged in the hearings.
Hearings continue today at Guantanamo in the USS Cole case. Military judge Air Force Colonel Vance Spath calls the commission to order and quickly informs the lawyers that he has signed the writ of attachment compelling the testimony of Navy Reserve Lieutenant Commander Stephen Gill, who refused to travel to the Mark Center in Virginia to testify by video-link yesterday.
Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul is a Yemeni citizen, currently held in Guantanamo Bay, who was convicted in a military commission under the 2006 Military Commissions Act for “inchoate conspiracy” to commit war crimes. After several rounds of judicial review, a D.C. Circuit panel in 2015 heard a challenge to his conviction on Article I and Article III grounds.
Wednesday’s session opens up with Jim Harrington, counsel for Ramzi Binalshibh arguing in favor of 152JJJ, a request for testimonial immunity for Abu Zubaydah in connection with Binalshibh’s motion to hold the guards in contempt for poor camp conditions. Harrington recites the criteria for granting testimonial immunity: that the witness intends to invoke a right to refuse to answer a question, that the government would receive a tactical advantage from denying or objecting to immunity, and that the testimony pertains to otherwise unobtainable evidence.